FRED GIACINTO'S "MOMENTS AND LEMONS" IS OH SO SWEET.
I’m not a fan of plays, they generally put me to sleep, I like musicals only slightly more. The theaters are either too small, often to hot and the seats are for the most part quite uncomfortable. Having said all of that, the other night I was invited to one of the final rehearsals of an amazing play written by Fred Giacinto entitled Moments And Lemons. Shockingly this is Mr. Giacinto’s first produced work, but I can’t imagine everything else he’s written not being scooped up by clever producers on the hunt for remarkable new talents. This is a one-act play with no intermission and honestly it’s so good that if there were an intermission I think I’d stay seated so as no to miss a minuet of the next act.
Moments And Lemons is honest, brave theater skillfully, and masterfully directed by New York performing arts veteran Thom Fogarty. To say this is thought provoking and clever direction is an understatement of biblical proportions.
This story of a man’s life, his ups and downs and his struggle to put the pieces of his life back together after he suffers the consequences of bad decisions, his journey from late teens to his 80’s is brought to life by the gifted Tony King. As the main character Casper, King showcases his agile ability to transform from 18 to 80 with nothing more than a twist of his face, or a subtle vocal inflection, it is quite astonishing and I believe this handsome young man has a very bright future ahead of him.
Sharing the stage with King is Jessica Day, and I say this with all humility and sincerity, Jessica Day is BRILLIANT. This is a Meryl Streep like performance. Giacinto crafted a play with 7 characters played by two people. Mr. Kings as I said plays Casper and Ms. Day plays six other characters, five women and one man. This is a daunting task and in the hands of a less capable actress it could come across as laughable or hokey but Day brings individual voices and gestures to each of her charges so you almost feel like she’s changing clothes and adding a wig when in fact she never changes anything, except her voice and her nuanced movements, this is Obie or Drama Desk worthy performance, I’d say a TONY but I’m not sure if they give them to Off Broadway productions, but if they do…Jessica Day is absolutely deserving. I also firmly believe if she didn’t have the stability of the very talented Tony King to play against, she may not have felt confident enough to explore and delve into the depths that she has.
None of this, none of Mr. Giacinto’s brash, smart bold, often harsh words and intelligently written and shocking situations, none of Mr. Kings wonderfully powerful monologues, and none of the quirky, charming, violent, sexual and innocent characters brought to life by Ms. Day would be possible without the guiding hand of Thom Fogarty.
Thom Fogarty is an artist of many talents, actor, dancer, choreographer, director etc…etc…etc…and has been a fixture on the downtown arts scene for many a year; his resume and of list achievements, nationally and internationally are to long to reprint. Fogarty has drawn upon all of his many gifts and talents and they all culminate here, where he has reached an artistic pinnacle and directed his way into theatrical legend.
He takes us into a vivid, colorful world full of life, love, loss and more love with nothing more than two actors, four chairs, a couple of lights, no costumes and one tiny prop that makes its only appearance at the end of the show. WOW!!! I mean really, I’ve seen movies with 200 million dollar budgets and every effect known to man that couldn’t hold my interest like these four artists, Day, Fogarty, Giacinto, and King have done with nothing more than words, and their talents.
This is an impressive, inventive piece of theater and art and no one should miss it. Like I said I don’t like plays, but I’m going to see this again and I’m bringing friends and I suggest you do the same. When this ends up on Broadway or as I suspect, as a movie you can say you say it’s first run in the East Village. I don’t give stars for reviews but if I did, four would be the highest so I’d give this five!
Written By Fred Giacinto
Directed By Thom Fogarty
Starring; Jessica Day and Tony King
February 18th –March 7th
155 1st Avenue (between E 9th and 10th Sts)